Just like cold, hard cash, the anonymity of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have attracted criminals and terrorists to the digital tokens over recent years.
That could soon all be over after the president of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), Marshall Billingslea, said the group will likely agree in October to a series of standards that will close the anti-money laundering gaps around the world.
These gaps allow bitcoin companies and cryptocurrency exchanges to move the virtual tokens across borders and into anonymous wallets.
“It is essential that we establish a global set of standards that are applied in a uniform manner,” Billingslea, speaking in Paris, said earlier today.
The FATF said it is now close to establishing a worldwide set of standards to apply to bitcoin and virtual currencies, which would make it far more difficult for criminals and terrorist organizations such as Islamic State, to use the digital tokens.
Currently, regulators’ attitudes to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, as well as the blockchain technology that underpins them, vary wildly around the world.
In Asia, South Korea and China have cracked down on their bitcoin and cryptocurrency industries while in Europe France, Switzerland, Malta, and Gibraltar want to outline rules to tempt bitcoin businesses. The U.S. continues to keep bitcoin and cryptocurrencies at arm’s length.
Elsewhere, some countries have banned bitcoin and cryptocurrency use entirely — though it is still possible to use them to an extent.
Billingslea, who is also an assistant U.S. Treasury secretary and deals with terror financing, said the Islamic State group has used bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to fund terrorists in Syria after publishing instructions on the social network Twitter.
Author: Billy Bambrough